Jay LaPrete/Associated Press
Former Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith addressed his firing from the school and accusations of domestic violence by his ex-wife Friday.
Appearing on 105.7 The Zone in Columbus, Smith denied ever committing domestic abuse against Courtney Smith.
“We had a volatile relationship, it was toxic,” Smith said, via Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel. “There was a lot of aggressive situations. … I’ve never committed domestic abuse against her. Now, there were times got out of hand and I had to defensively restrain her…I never hit her.”
He added that Urban and Shelley Meyer “weren’t really involved” when the reports against him were filed in 2015, via Yahoo Sports.
In an interview on SportsCenter (via Athlon Sports’ Bryan D. Fischer), Smith said Meyer told him “you’re gone” if Meyer found out Smith hit his ex-wife.
Smith noted Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith called him and brought him back from a road game in October 2015 after the first police report alleging domestic violence and felonious assault was filed, via USA Today‘s Dan Wolken.
“I was not a good husband,” Smith said, via Yahoo Sports. “I pushed her buttons. I could make her mad easily. There’s a lot of things I did wrong. That’s between her and I. There was never domestic abuse. I never hit her. Never got arrested. Never got charged.”
Smith added he “didn’t do anything that warranted a firing,” via Wolken.
College football insider Brett McMurphy tweeted a screenshot of text messages between Zach and Courtney in which he admitted to strangling her on two different occasions:
Brett McMurphy @Brett_McMurphy
Zach Smith told @1057TheZone he never abused Courtney. Here is text message b/w Zach & Courtney when he admits & apologizes for strangling his wife on Punta Cana trip in March 2015 & again in April https://t.co/GjcjWh6mFT
During his SportsCenter interview (via Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman), Smith said he would be “heartbroken” if Meyer lost his job at Ohio State.
“If he loses his job, it would be flat wrong…. And that is the guy who fired me,” Smith told SportsCenter.
Smith also noted that Meyer shouldn’t be treated like an investigator in this situation:
Michael McCann @McCannSportsLaw
Zac Smith on Urban Meyer: “He’s not an investigator, he’s not a cop, he’s not a detective . . . you can’t have a head coach doing investigating. Investigators do investigations.” One key question will be whether Meyer did enough investigating per university policy.
A second police report was filed against Smith in November 2015 with Courtney accusing him of menacing by stalking. No charges were brought against him, but Courtney filed for divorce that same month.
Meyer fired Smith on July 23 after Courtney was granted a protection order against her ex-husband that requires him to stay at least 500 feet away from her.
Ohio State placed Meyer on paid administrative leave Wednesday as the school continues to investigate if he was aware of the 2015 allegations against Smith.
The Ohio State University Board of Trustees announced Thursday that it formed an independent board to oversee the investigation.